Although this year's "BECon", a biennial international kiln-glass conference hosted by Bullseye Glass Company, was successful by all measures – in the back of the minds of owners Daniel Schwoerer and Lani McGregor lingered a concern, as it concluded on June 24.
"We were hoping to announce being granted our 'chrome allowance' from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) at our conference this week, but the bureaucracy seems to move slowly," Schwoerer sighed at the closing evening gala held at their Brooklyn neighborhood plant.
"It's been 16 months now, and all of these people – users of this class – have not been able to get our chrome-green glass, which represents about 20% of our output," Schwoerer told THE BEE.
But, for the nearly 200 attendees of this year's conference coming from seemingly all corners of the globe, the meetings, workshops, and trip to Portland was enjoyed by all.
"The topic of the conference is kiln-formed glass – the category of glass working materials for which Bullseye is internationally renowned," McGregor explained. "We pick a theme for the conference, and invite experts to speak to on the topic presenting either conceptual information or technical discussions.
"This year, the theme was 'Transformations'; kind of a 'green theme' – and reflective of our past year as well."
In addition to a tour of the factory, which was actively making glass during the closing ceremony of the conference, it also featured a dinner – served in the Bullseye warehouse.
"We call it a 'Lehr-B-Cue', because the hot dishes, including ribs and chicken, are cooked in one of our lehr annealing ovens," Schwoerer smiled.
Three days after the conference closed, on June 27, DEQ finally approved Bullseye's request for an allowance to use chromium in their manufacturing process, and again begin to manufacture their original green art glass.
This approval came after the company spent about $1 million to install filters, leak detection technology, and undergo state and federal emissions testing and documentation for their operating procedures
"While some of our competitors think otherwise, we think Portland, Oregon, is the right place to make the best artisan glass in the world, while maintaining the highest standards of public health and safety!" Schwoerer said.